SOAS University of London

SOAS PhD scholar wins prestigious human rights award

9 December 2021

Alice Mogwe, SOAS PhD scholar and leading human rights activist, has won the highly prestigious international Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Human Rights Award 2021 for her work and achievements through her organisation, DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights.

Alice Mogwe is a leading human rights activist from the African continent and southern Africa region and dealt early on with the question of how particularly marginalised groups can gain access to the legal system. In 1993 she founded DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, which has committed itself to the goal of establishing and enforcing the indivisibility and universality of human rights. The focus of DITSHWANELO's work has included, the abolition of the death penalty, the strengthening of the rights of vulnerable and poor population groups such as migrants, and the rights of domestic workers.

The FES said: “Alice Mogwe embodies the commitment to human rights in southern Africa like no other person. For decades she has advocated a comprehensive understanding of human rights and their extension to all citizens. With the award of the human rights award in 2021, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung honours Alice Mogwe's work and commitment in Botswana and southern Africa."

Alice’s PhD supervisor Professor Stephen Chan said: "Alice is an amazing person and a superb student. She combines all her activism with study to set an example to the younger generation. A very fine classical pianist, she crosses cultural boundaries to represent a cosmopolitanism which speaks to SOAS. Her investigation into Botswana norms and ethics lead our appreciation of human rights robustly in a decolonial direction while contributing to an enlarged universality."

Loading the player...

Alice Mogwe wins FES Human Rights Award 2021


Alice is a board member of the International Service for Human Rights, the Botswana National Commission for UNESCO, the Botswana Baylor Children's Center of Excellence Collaborative African Genomics Network, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law and the current elected president of the International Federation for Human Rights. Alice graduated from both the University of Cape Town and Kent University in law; from Johannesburg University in Public Policy and African Studies; and is currently enrolled at the Doctoral School at SOAS. Alice's acceptance speech is available to view on YouTube.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Friedrich Ebert Foundation) was established in 1925 as the political legacy of Friedrich Ebert, Germany's first democratically elected President. It is the largest and oldest of the German party-associated foundations. The award ceremony took place on 1 December in Gaborone, Botswana.